Nikica Jelavic's brace helped Rangers beat Dundee United to move 12 points clear at the top of the Scottish Premier League.

The striker headed the hosts ahead from Matt McKay's cross after Jon Daly had missed an excellent chance for United.

Jelavic's second came from the penalty spot following Paul Dixon's foul on Gregg Wylde inside the area.

Daly headed home before Garry Kenneth's own goal sealed Rangers' victory and Wylde received a late red card.

Second-place Motherwell take on Celtic on Sunday, with three points currently separating those two sides and the latter having played a game fewer than the Steelmen and two fewer than Rangers.

United were prominent in the early stages and captain Daly missed an excellent chance to score inside the penalty area, the striker scooping over from Johnny Russell's centre.

Keith Watson and Matt McKay

McKay (right) set up Rangers' opening goal in his first competitive start

The Tangerines continued to press and Russell sliced a shot wide from the edge of the area after being picked out by Scott Robertson.

Rangers, without long-term injury victim Steven Naismith and Kyle Lafferty who failed a late fitness test, deployed McKay in support of Jelavic.

And it was that combination that unlocked the United defence for the opening goal as the Australian's cross was bulleted home by the head of the unmarked striker.

Jelavic swivelled in the box to fire in a shot that was well saved by Dusan Pernis before Rangers lost Lee Wallace to injury, Wylde taking his place.

Sasa Papac took over from Wallace at left-back and the Bosnian did enough to put Daly off as the striker nudged the ball into the arms of McGregor from another Dixon cross.

The visitors began the second half as they had started the first and Kenneth came close with a long-range shot.

But United were undone when Dixon took Wylde out of the game inside the box and Jelavic converted the spot-kick.

The two-goal lead did not last long, however, as Kenneth ventured forward to cross for Daly, who beat McGregor with a well-placed header.

But the home crowd's nerves were settled when Steven Whittaker's cross towards Jelavic was headed into his own net by Kenneth.

The match ended in controversy as Wylde was sent off following an off-the-ball incident.

Match Stats

Shots

8 5

On target

5 2

Corners

3 2

Fouls

5 8

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +2:44 Full time

Full Time The match has reached full-time.

90:00 +2:11 Booking

Booking Booking for Willo Flood.

90:00 +1:46 Booking

Booking Kyle Bartley is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour.

90:00 +0:53 Dismissal

Dismissal The referee shows Gregg Wylde a red card.

88:47

Gavin Gunning produces a cross, clearance by Kyle Bartley.

87:36

Ryan Dow is caught offside. Indirect free kick taken by Allan McGregor.

87:24

Centre by Garry Kenneth.

85:57

Jon Daly fouled by Steven Davis, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Paul Dixon from right channel, Kyle Bartley makes a clearance.

83:05

Centre by Alejandro Bedoya, Scott Robertson makes a clearance.

81:14

The assist for the goal came from Steven Whittaker.

81:14 Goal scored

Goal! - Garry Kenneth - Rangers 3 - 1 Dundee U An own goal is scored by Garry Kenneth. Rangers 3-1 Dundee Utd.

79:55 Substitution

Substitution Johnny Russell leaves the field to be replaced by Lauri Dalla Valle.

79:55

Unfair challenge on Sasa Papac by Johnny Russell results in a free kick. Allan McGregor restarts play with the free kick.

79:22

The ball is sent over by John Rankin, clearance made by Carlos Bocanegra.

77:28

Ryan Dow challenges Alejandro Bedoya unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Allan McGregor.

77:17

A cross is delivered by Johnny Russell, clearance made by Dorin Goian.

76:12 Substitution

Substitution Ryan Dow comes on in place of Gary Mackay-Steven.

76:01

Paul Dixon crosses the ball.

75:19

Corner from right by-line taken by Alejandro Bedoya.

74:18

Maurice Edu fouled by John Rankin, the ref awards a free kick. Maurice Edu takes the free kick.

73:00

Garry Kenneth provided the assist for the goal.

73:00 Substitution

Substitution Alejandro Bedoya on for Matt McKay.

73:00 Goal scored

Goal! - Jon Daly - Rangers 2 - 1 Dundee U Jon Daly finds the net with a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Rangers 2-1 Dundee Utd.

72:53

Garry Kenneth delivers the ball,

71:37

Centre by Paul Dixon.

69:55

Foul by Gavin Gunning on Kyle Bartley, free kick awarded. Nikica Jelavic has a direct shot on goal from the free kick.

69:21

John Rankin crosses the ball.

67:39

Outswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Gregg Wylde. Matt McKay gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Gary Mackay-Steven. Garry Kenneth restarts play with the free kick. Matt McKay gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Willo Flood. John Rankin crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from own half.

67:11

Sasa Papac takes a shot. Blocked by Garry Kenneth.

65:56

Gavin Gunning takes a shot. Save made by Allan McGregor.

64:21 Booking

Booking Sasa Papac receives a yellow card for dissent.

62:42 Goal scored

Goal! - Nikica Jelavic - Rangers 2 - 0 Dundee U Nikica Jelavic scores a power penalty. Rangers 2-0 Dundee Utd.

61:56

Unfair challenge on Gregg Wylde by Paul Dixon results in a Penalty.

60:09

Kyle Bartley takes a shot. Blocked by Sasa Papac. Effort from a long way out by Sasa Papac goes wide right of the goal.

59:36

Unfair challenge on Matt McKay by Willo Flood results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Kyle Bartley.

54:49

A cross is delivered by Steven Davis, clearance made by Willo Flood.

54:00

Steven Whittaker gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Gary Mackay-Steven. Gary Mackay-Steven restarts play with the free kick.

52:47

The ball is crossed by Garry Kenneth.

50:55

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Gregg Wylde from the right by-line to the near post, clearance made by Johnny Russell.

46:50

The ball is crossed by Garry Kenneth, save by Allan McGregor.

45:01

The second half kicks off.

45:00 +1:05 Half time

Half Time The referee blows for half time.

42:38

Centre by Steven Davis, Headed effort from inside the area by Nikica Jelavic misses to the left of the goal.

41:14

Jon Daly crosses the ball.

40:34

Gregg Wylde is ruled offside. Dusan Pernis takes the free kick.

39:59

The ball is swung over by Paul Dixon.

37:52

The ball is delivered by Gary Mackay-Steven, Dorin Goian manages to make a clearance.

36:47

Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Willo Flood from the right by-line, Corner from the left by-line taken by Gary Mackay-Steven, clearance made by Dorin Goian. Clearance by Dorin Goian.

36:38

John Rankin delivers the ball.

34:33

The referee blows for offside. Gavin Gunning takes the direct free kick.

33:37

Steven Whittaker crosses the ball.

32:49

The ball is swung over by Gregg Wylde, Dusan Pernis makes a save.

31:52 Substitution

Substitution Gregg Wylde on for Lee Wallace.

29:01

Maurice Edu produces a cross.

28:22

John Rankin concedes a free kick for a foul on Maurice Edu. Maurice Edu takes the free kick.

26:20

Lee Wallace sends in a cross, Nikica Jelavic takes a shot. Save made by Dusan Pernis.

25:34

Lee Wallace sends in a cross, save made by Dusan Pernis.

23:54

The ball is crossed by Gary Mackay-Steven, Carlos Bocanegra manages to make a clearance.

22:33

Steven Whittaker delivers the ball, Dusan Pernis makes a save.

21:39

The ball is sent over by Keith Watson, Dorin Goian manages to make a clearance.

21:04

The ball is crossed by Sasa Papac, Garry Kenneth manages to make a clearance.

20:34

Sasa Papac crosses the ball, Garry Kenneth manages to make a clearance.

19:58

Paul Dixon delivers the ball, save made by Allan McGregor.

18:30

The assist for the goal came from Matt McKay.

18:30 Goal scored

Goal! - Nikica Jelavic - Rangers 1 - 0 Dundee U Nikica Jelavic finds the back of the net with a headed goal from just outside the area. Rangers 1-0 Dundee Utd.

18:23

The ball is crossed by Matt McKay,

17:48

Steven Whittaker delivers the ball, Gavin Gunning makes a clearance.

16:36

Paul Dixon is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Allan McGregor takes the indirect free kick.

16:02

The ball is swung over by Lee Wallace, Garry Kenneth makes a clearance.

15:10

The ball is sent over by Steven Davis, save by Dusan Pernis.

12:56

Paul Dixon produces a cross, Scott Robertson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Dorin Goian. Allan McGregor restarts play with the free kick.

12:21

The referee blows for offside against Nikica Jelavic. Garry Kenneth restarts play with the free kick.

11:11

Johnny Russell has a shot on goal from outside the box which misses left.

9:53

Centre by Lee Wallace, Garry Kenneth manages to make a clearance.

8:08

Lee Wallace crosses the ball, blocked by Johnny Russell.

4:44

Johnny Russell crosses the ball, Shot from deep inside the area by Jon Daly clears the bar.

4:07

The ball is sent over by Gary Mackay-Steven.

3:54

The ball is crossed by Gary Mackay-Steven, clearance made by Carlos Bocanegra.

3:00

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Garry Kenneth by Matt McKay. Free kick taken by Gavin Gunning.

2:49

Lee Wallace delivers the ball, clearance made by Garry Kenneth.

1:50

Willo Flood takes a shot. Blocked by Matt McKay.

1:41

Paul Dixon delivers the ball.

0:27

Maurice Edu sends in a cross, Gavin Gunning makes a clearance.

0:00

The ref blows the whistle to begin the match.

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